Fluoride Treatments For Kids

Dr. Kelly Jobe | Pediatric Dentist | St. Louis, MO

Fluoride treatments for kids

You’ve probably heard of fluoride – and it’s a pretty amazing substance! It is a mineral that is widely distributed in nature. And luckily, this naturally-occurring element is really, really good at building healthy teeth. That’s why dentists love it so much!

Since fluoride is a mineral, it “remineralizes” and strengthens our tooth enamel, making teeth more resistant to tooth decay and cavities. It even fights the plaque bacteria that cause cavities!

Fluoride has been proven to prevent tooth decay since the 1930s, which is why it’s usually added to tap water supplies. But, many times drinking water doesn’t have enough fluoride to do the job. The best way to prevent tooth decay is using fluoride that is painted on the teeth, as well as swallowed.

That’s why the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children receive fluoride treatments 2 to 4 times a year starting at the age of 2, depending on your child’s risk of cavities. Fluoride treatments are more concentrated than what you’d find in tap water, very inexpensive and definitely worth the low cost. Kids even like the taste!

Combined with daily habits like brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, regular cleanings and a healthy diet, your child is well on their way to have healthy teeth throughout their life.

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Are fluoride treatments necessary for children?

Nearly 4 million preschoolers have some form of tooth decay – It’s the most common infectious disease in children; even more common than asthma.

Tooth decay is caused when plaque bacteria interacts with the food and sugar that we eat to create acids, which tear down the enamel and create cavities. These cavities can bore down to the nerves and blood inside the tooth (the pulp), creating all kinds of problems.

Research shows that children who receive fluoride treatments are 43% less likely to get cavities. Fluoride treatments can even reverse cavities that just started forming. That’s pretty impressive for such an inexpensive treatment! 

It is still important for your child to receive fluoride treatments, even on their baby teeth. Baby teeth are more prone to tooth decay than adult teeth, which means they are at a higher risk of falling out prematurely. You might think that doesn’t sound like a big deal (because baby teeth are supposed to fall out anyway), but it is! 

That’s because baby teeth still serve an important role: Guiding adult teeth to where they need to go. If baby teeth fall out prematurely from tooth decay, that can cause their adult teeth to be misshapen or crooked. 

Regular fluoride treatments prevent tooth decay, which save you and your child the trouble of more procedures or surgery down the road. Preventive maintenance is key!

Is fluoride safe for children?

Fluoride varnish treatments are very safe for children because fluoride:

  • Is a natural mineral
  • Is used in small amounts
  • Hardly gets ingested in varnish form
  • Allows the child to to eat and a drink just after application


It only takes a few minutes for the fluoride varnish to get painted on the child’s teeth, and then the procedure is done. The fluoride then gets brushed off after 4 to 12 hours or so.

Questions for Dr. Jobe or the Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry team?

Dr. Kelly Jobe and the team at Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry are committed to providing the best pediatric dental care in the greater St. Louis, MO area! Please contact us with any questions regarding your kid’s dental health, we are here to help!

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